Portland stabbing survivor Micah Fletcher is calling for supporters to focus their attention on the girls racially and religiously attacked during Friday’s train attack.
He was one of three people stabbed after confronting a man on a MAX train for verbally attacking Destinee Mangum, 16, and her 17-year-old-friend, who is Muslim and was wearing a hijab. While Fletcher survived, Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche died from their wounds. Police arrested Jeremy Christian, who has ties to white supremacist groups, soon afterward.
Fletcher thanked supporters for an outpouring of kindness and money in a moving video he posted to Facebook Wednesday, but then he said there’s a problem that needs addressing.
“We need to remember that this is about those little girls. I want you to imagine that for a second being a little girl on that MAX,” Fletcher said. “This man is screaming at you. His face is a pile of knives. His body is a gun. Everything about him is cocked, loaded and ready to kill you,” he continued. “There is a history here with this. You can feel that this has happened before, and the only thing that was different was the names and faces. And then a stranger, two strangers, three strangers come to your aid. They try to help you. And that pile of knives just throws itself at them. Kills them.”
Even after experiencing such trauma, Fletcher has a way with words. The 21-year-old is a poet and student at Portland State University. Oregon Live reported that Fletcher won a 2013 poetry competition for two pieces of work: one that dealt with the blame rape victims face and another focused on the prejudice leveled at Muslims in America after the attacks on September 11, 2001. His work focuses on social injustices, and he wants his poems to inspire change.
“We in Portland have this weird tendency to continue patterns that we’ve done forever and one of them is same old just to put it bluntly: white savior complex,” Fletcher said in the video. “I think it’s immensely immensely morally wrong and irresponsible how much money we have gotten as opposed to how much support, money, love, kindness that has been given to that little girl.”
The poet linked to a fundraiser organized in honor of the two teenagers who were targeted during the train attack. At the time of this posting, about 1800 individuals donated more than $65,000 of its $150,000 goal. The group is raising money to provide the teenagers with safe transportation options and mental health services.
Multiple fundraisers were set up in the days following the attack and, in total, they surpassed $1 million in money raised. A GoFundMe page devoted to supporting Fletcher’s medical bills has received more than $255,000. A campaign organized by local nonprofit, Muslim Educational Trust, has raised more than $530,000 to support Fletcher and the families of the two men who died standing up to the attacker.
“Although this campaign is organized by Muslims, we welcome people of all faiths to contribute,” the campaign’s page says. The group reached its $60,000 goal within 5 hours. Its new goal is set at $550,000.
Portland restaurateur Nick Zukin started a GoFundMe page as well, which has raised $540,000 of its of $600,000 goal.
“They are heroes, yet their families are not only going to be faced with the pain of losing people they love, but with financial hardships from their passings,” Zukin wrote on the page. “I’ve started this GoFundMe to help them with costs as a result of their deaths and injuries.”
Fletcher asked followers to like and share his video, which has been viewed more than 300,000 times in the 14 hours since he posted it to Facebook.